|ROBOT WARS | Are they set to take over the world and
if so is it a case of if you can't beat them, join them?|
They may not be able to climb stairs
and their exterminator looks more like a sink plunger, but Daleks
and their fellow robots are taking over the world. That’s if you believe
Professor Kevin Warwick who prepares to join them as the first half
man, half robot.
Coventry born Professor Kevin Warwick has one ambition
- to turn himself into a cyborg. He’s convinced that intelligent robots
are on the brink of taking over the world, so if you can’t beat them,
"I have one goal in my life. I want to be a cyborg ... I want to be the world’s first half man half machine." Kevin Warwick,
Professor of Cybernetics at Reading University.
wants to be the first cyborg, half man, half human|
This view may seem a little extreme, but are robots covertly
phasing man-kind out of the equation? Inside Out investigates.
Life in the year 2000 - voice activated appliances, flying
cars, home-help robots. This is how life in the future was viewed. The
reality is a little different and it seems that robots are doing it for
themselves, getting out of the kitchen and into the work place.
At the Longbridge Rover plant, this is certainly the case.
345 robots turn out 3,000 cars a week. It takes six robots 90 seconds
to perform 500 welds - phew! How can humans compete with that? It seems
Man versus machine
So are robots plans for world domination beginning with
the stealing of our jobs? On the contrary believes one Rover representative,
who assures Inside Out that were robots not used, manufacture would be
lost to factories abroad.
out-perform humans on the production line|
"A robot is simply a tool," assures the Rover representative.
"It’s only a robot because we call it a robot. It’s just like any other
Inside Out finds a robot that is a little more sophisticated
than ‘just any other machine’. One designer has created a robot security
guard, complete with infra-red night vision and it won’t require a tea
The robot may be superior to a human security guard in
its abilities, but although it can see, it has no understanding, it doesn’t
even recognise its creator. Robots, it seems, pose little treat without
World's first cyborg
But that’s not enough to convince Kevin, who has already
taken the first step in his cyborg creation. Kevin has installed a microchip
in his body. Using it, he’s devised a way of making electrical impulses
from his brain operate a robot arm.
He can also transmit those impulses across the world,
using the internet, so they can operate mechanical limbs in New York.
can control machinery by thought alone|
Kevin is also busy devising a way of transmitting thoughts
to his wife, without having to speak. Robot expert Martin Smith is sceptical.
"I think that’s an inhuman idea. We’ve evolved to communicate
in human ways," says Martin. "I don’t think any family could
survive having their most intimate thoughts shared all the time with other
But it’s just this inhumanity that Kevin is striving
for. Yet however inhuman Kevin’s actions may appear, he still displays
the very basic of all human emotions - fear.
"Certainly I’m frightened about having a brain implant.
But what frightens me even more, is that somebody else might do it before
me… I want to be there at the cutting edge."
So next time your toaster plays up, or your microwave
pings involuntary, it may be the start of the robot revolution, head for
the safety of the stairs, or failing that, just switch them off!